Archive for June, 2020

Newark Ohio Iconoclash

June 21, 2020

In past posts Analysis has been following the current Iconoclash rather marginally. Nationally (and internationally) the monuments and names keep coming down, the latest being Monmouth University’s building named in honor of Woodrow Wilson. No such bounty of figurative sculpture or names to be found in Newark Ohio; mostly religious icon’s or heroes of industry found on church or business private property. Why’s that? The bronze figures around the square are a pre-MAGA visualization of life as it ought to be; more a tribute to the effectiveness of Walt Disney “in reverse” surveillance technology (if you are good, Mickey will smile on you) than celebrations of any specific person or individual. And the building names, or buildings themselves? Analysis began this blog over 7 years ago enumerating who owns downtown Newark. Most properties are gov’t, church, or corporate owned, with many corporate entities established for that specific property ownership. Ditto building names. The culture has been efficiently anaesthetized through the removal of any structure strongly evocative of history, or the repurposing of those deemed “interesting.” The blog followed the demise of the old Children’s Home on East Main Street, and the repurposing of the downtown Gazebo as replacement. And what of the Roper factory smokestack, the railroad roundhouse, or the east end hospital? Evidence of the city’s actual history has been erased and replaced by branding icon’s like the Basket Building, Canal Market (next to the moldy old county jail), and The Works (Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology). The “branded history” names follow the same “made for general audience consumption” fantasy history as the bronze figures scattered around the square. Yet nationally (and internationally) the statues and names keep coming down. The Iconoclash grows more intense, threatening to topple a Presidency. The optimists point to all this as a beginning, the beginning of a genuine conversation of history, race, and the continuous effects of slavery. An uncomfortable conversation to be had, we are told. Certainly not what one would celebrate with bronze figures around the Newark Courthouse Square. Why Not? The history of slavery and the US, both AS the US as well as with the creation of the US, is premised in a conversation far more uncomfortable than race. THAT conversation IS celebrated continuously around the Courthouse Square in downtown Newark. No matter the volumes of philosophic tomes justifying the rational legitimacy of private property ownership (9/10ths of the law), in the end it comes down to the history and origins of Capitalism. At some point, somewhere, Capitalism requires that something has been acquired from nothing, which allows for the establishment of property and value; whether it be the resources of an entire continent where the inhabitants are not considered human, or labor as a resource, by being considered as owned property (or indentured — as family). Something must cost nothing (be there for the taking, with or without guile). And it is this “costs nothing” which makes the conversation so uncomfortable, and uncertain, in Newark Ohio.

Official Apology From The Ministry Of Information

June 14, 2020

There is a need for context with today’s blog posting. Autocratic governments around the world have historically, as well as currently, maintained official news outlets where the official government interpretation of what is considered official reality is asserted. The rest is dismissed as, officially and literally, fake news. Some of these news outlets are run through official government offices of information, etc. Others are government franchise “autonomous” enterprises whose primary existence is to be the government mouth piece. Most in the US don’t approach news in that manner. Between a mix of freedom of the press and Walter Cronkite, with a dash of radical marginalized outlets, the news is treated as a work in progress of contemporary history, a fact checkable reality. What could be official? The contemporary autocracy in America rearranges that outlook. With its emphasis on privatizing anything and everything official that it can, the current administration eschews an “official” line, preferring instead for a popular origin located and affirmed through private news sources (a Wall Street Cronkite nightly report, of sorts). Many sources have reported what was originally uncovered by the Seattle Times. June 13, 2020, Jesse Drucker headlines for the NY Times that “Fox News Removes a Digitally Altered Image of Seattle Protests Fox News acknowledged that one photo was a combination of several images, and a second was taken in a different city.” Notable in the report of what The Seattle Times had scooped: “On Friday, Fox posted on its site a photo of a man armed with a rifle standing in front of the shattered glass of a storefront. The Seattle Times noted that it was a combination of several different photos from Getty Images taken over nearly two weeks. Also on the website, Fox also posted a nighttime photo of a burning storefront and car, accompanied by the headline “Crazy Town” and a list of articles on the unrest in Seattle. But that image was taken in St. Paul, Minn.” Drucker also gave the official response: “In an editor’s note now accompanying the articles, Fox said the now-deleted image was a “collage” that “did not clearly delineate between these images, and has since been replaced. In addition, a recent slide show depicting scenes from Seattle mistakenly included a picture from St. Paul, Minnesota. Fox News regrets these errors.”” Since 2016 Fox News has been functioning as the de facto ministry of information for the Trump regime; privatized, of course. The protesters may chant “What does democracy look like? This is what democracy looks like.” Well, Fox News is what privatization looks like for an official ministry of information. In the 5-28-20 post entitled “Decision 2020” Analysis referenced Latour’s Iconoclash and “Why do Images Trigger so Much Furor?” The original meaning of collage is given as “a piece of art made by sticking various different materials such as photographs and pieces of paper or fabric onto a backing.” The origin of the word “propaganda” is given as “Italian, from modern Latin congregatio de propaganda fide ‘congregation for propagation of the faith’” Propaganda? Art? Or both? Fox news: We report, you decide.

Meanwhile

June 5, 2020

The state legislature in Ohio has been busy with what must matter. Unhappy with Governor Dewine and Dr. Amy Acton’s leadership on the Covid 19 pandemic, they tried to suppress their capacity in the future. That went nowhere so the knives came out for what else the legislators could slice and dice to suppress. Funny, how if you can’t contribute positively there is always the option of negation to make you feel like you are being proactive (Householder’s “grow a pair” comments while shooting a TV and all!). Andrew J. Tobias has been following the progress of Ohio HB680 for cleveland.com in a series of articles. Introduced by Rep. Cindy Abrams (GOP southwest Ohio) it projected eliminating early voting the weekend just prior election day, also no mass mailings of absentee ballot application by the Secretary of State, as well as spelled out how, when and in what manner the Governor could reset the November 2020 election. This flies in the face of the original legal settlement enabling early voting. It likewise dissed the plans and intention of Ohio’s Secretary of State (“The proposal runs counter to a plan by Republican Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who has sought to expand early voting for the November election, in part due to the coronavirus pandemic. His plan includes giving people the option to request a ballot online, and providing postage-paid envelopes to voters with ballot applications and actual ballots.”). The bill faced some push back. The final version passed the House 6-4-20. It already is a modification of a similar Senate bill, so no biggie “hammering out” a compromise. The question remains “will Dewine sign it?” What’s in the final version, you ask? Still limits the how, when and in what manner the Governor can “update” any election to accommodate conditions (like Covid 19, obviously, but less obvious would be civil or economic turmoil). Tobias writes: “House Bill 680 also shortens the deadline to request a mail-in ballot by four days — it’s now a week before Election Day — and bars Secretary of State Frank LaRose from providing voters with postage-paid envelopes along with their ballot applications and blank ballots. LaRose, a Republican, had proposed providing the envelopes to encourage mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.” Early voting the weekend prior election day remains as per legal settlement between the state, ACLU and NAACP. Tobias also notes: “The bill was approved by a 60-35 party-line vote. It adopts language previously passed by the Ohio Senate in a separate bill prohibiting any public official from changing the time, place or manner of an election. All the ‘yes’ votes were from Republicans, and the ‘no’ votes were from Democrats.” Analysis can’t fail to appreciate the emphasis on Democracy and voting tackled by the legislature in the midst of a growing pandemic, economic depression, and widespread civil upheaval re: police in America. The latter demonstrations are usually prefaced by platitudes of “election is the best hope for change,” “real power comes through the ballot box,” and “voting is how you make a difference,” etc. Meanwhile, those in power have other ideas as to how, when, where, and in what manner Democracy takes place.